White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, the most senior Jewish official in the Obama administration, will participate in lighting the National Menorah in Washington, DC, COLlive.com has learned.
The annual event on the Ellipse, sponsored by American Friends of Lubavitch, traditionally features a musical performance by “The Three Cantors” and a military band – this year it will be the U.S. Air Force Band.
According to sources, there is unprecedented interest in this year’s Lighting Ceremony, and nearly all tickets for the event – some 4,000 in total – have been distributed.
Only some standing room tickets remain to the Sunday, December 13 event and are available through NationalMenorah.org.
Many more can still view the lighting from outside the secured area or by tuning in to XM Satellite Radio at 4:00 pm EST.
Rabbi Levi Shemtov, Director of American Friends of Lubavitch (Chabad) in Washington, DC, confirmed this information.
“We look forward to one of our most successful National Menorah events ever, G-d willing,” Shemtov told COLlive.com.
“We have expanded the site and equipment to accommodate the larger crowd this year, and are working through the other necessary logistics as we speak.”
The National Menorah was first lit in 1979 in the presence of then-President Jimmy Carter, and is the most high profile Chanukah event in Washington, D.C. with all major news networks and outlets covering its proceedings every year.